I'm here from the HPFF forums! :)
This was a lovely and sweet beginning to the story. You characterized young Lily very well, despite the lack of information we receive about her in the books. The way you wrote this was very effective in portraying her age and maturity level, it really did seem like it was coming from the mind of a 10 year old. I like how you took us through a quick background of the past and her feelings on all her cousins leaving. It was a nice way to inform the reader and set up for the story's premise.
There were a few things I noted that I thought I should point out to you. First of all, I'm not sure if this a typo or not, but the 3rd paragraph says: "Like I say, it didn't worry me at first." Should this be "like I said", rather than "say"? The switch in tense just sounds a bit awkward and made me as the reader stop in confusion. I noticed a switch in tense near the end as well: "I said to Hugo". I understand that most of the chapter is written about past events and therefore is in the past tense, but I noticed when you weren't describing past events you were using the present tense. It's not wise to skip around in tenses, as it trips up the reader and can get messy to read. Also, the wording of the fourth paragraph ("When I was one...") was definitely a bit confusing. I understood what you were trying to say, but it wasn't clear at first and I had to reread it several times to understand.
Lastly is just a few general tips. Try to limit your use of commas. When proof reading your work, look at your commas and think "is this pause really necessary?" Oftentimes you'll find that a sentence sounds just fine without the comma. Unnecessary comma usage makes the writing cluttered and can turn off the reader. Also, try to vary your sentence length. This ties in with commas well, instead of inserting too many commas in a longer sentence, try breaking it up into several shorter sentences! Long sentences are okay, but you should switch it up a bit and add some variation. It will make your writing more interesting to read.
Technical issues aside, I think this is a good start to the story. :) You've laid out an interesting beginning that doesn't give too much away about what's to come, leaving the reader wanting to know more. Your characterization of Lily seems unique and enticing. If I had any suggestions at all, I'd say maybe add a bit more about Hugo.
Nice job. :)
Author's Response: Hi there! :)
Hehe thanks! I'm never really sure about this slow introduction, but since the theme of the story is that she's a ten-year-old trying to decide how to make the best of her 'abandonment', I'm just glad it comes across okay! Also, I'm really glad that you think I captured her age alright, since that can be difficult at times.
Ahhh, I'm such a failure at tenses! Thankyou for pointing these things out; I just tend to forget where I am and mess it up. You're right, of course, and I do want to try to keep a nice flow, since it's something that's so important to me when I read other people's work. Thankyou!
Oh dear, I abuse commas so much! Thankyou for the tips, I think commas/sentence structure are definitely something I need to work on, and clearing up the technicalities seems like something that I really need to do :)
Hehe thanks, I'm glad you like it. I was hoping that it would be an enticing prologue, since I wrote it almost accidentally and then wanted to know what happened myself! Thankyou for everything :D